River draws in tourists, but researchers highlight rip current dangers

AU TRAIN — One Upper Peninsula river is often used as a swimming and kayaking destination- but most visitors are not aware of its ever changing environment.

The Au Train River is becoming a popular tourist spot in the U.P. With tourists and residents of the area coming to swim at the mouth of the Au Train River, it is very important for everyone to keep in mind that rip currents can occur there, especially near the opening of Lake Superior.

Researchers say the rip currents at this location have found to be some of the most dangerous in the world, leading Michigan Tech students to come and study the area in order to better understand its complex environment.

“They’ve actually been mapping the entire bay and configuration, and observing how this river actually reenacts with Lake Superior to create these unique rip currents out here,” said Au Train Township Supervisor, Tom Balmes.

The rip currents are not the only unique feature of this river but also the steps needed to take in order to reduce flooding.

An emergency management plan must be maintained every year around mid-November. During this time, ice and sand can block the mouth of the river.

“We have roads that are being covered in water and the worst case scenario is, if we don’t address it immediately, the river can get high enough and it will pull the septic fields into the river. Then we would end up with a contaminated beach out here in the summer time,” said Balmes.

The maintenance and care of the river is performed entirely by Au Train Township who are responsible for keeping the river safe for all residents. Au Train Township has worked hard to create an inviting atmosphere to the river including a wheelchair accessible boat launch.

The Au Train River does have an ever changing environment creating a great place for researchers to come and collect data about why the mouth of the river changes so drastically, and how they can prevent future rip currents.

Researchers say this U.P. swimming hotspot has the "most dangerous rip currents in the world," [goo.gl/65SFtL]. ABC News' Ginger Zee explains what to do if you're caught in it. Enjoy the Great Lakes. We want you to #BeBrave and swim at your favorite places, but we want you to survive if you're ever in trouble, and know the risks. goo.gl/65SFtL

Posted by ABC10 & CW5 UP on Friday, July 15, 2016